Once upon a time Dinah Shore sang about seeing
the USA in your Chevrolet. Today, she could be
singing about seeing the USA in your cruising
boat. Cruising is indeed a great way to see the
USA without having to pull your wheeled vehicle
into a gas station every few hours and into a
motel off the interstate every night. When
you’re cruising, you don’t have to pack and
unpack every night, either. With cruising, your
castle is also your mode of transport. It’s fun,
It’s scenic, It’s very economical and it’s
These days, “sailing into the sunset” is being
redefined by retirees.
Thanks to advances in medical science, we are
living longer. Thanks to ibuprofen, we’re also
functioning longer. Retirees, especially, are
beneficiaries. With time and a bottle of
friendly caplets on their side they can do
things earlier generations of retirees could
not. Instead of sitting in a rocker and watching
re-runs of The Golden Girls, retirees today are
sitting in a catbird seat and self-directing
their lives into new and exciting adventures.
I know this because in my job as proprietor of a
yacht school and chartering enterprise I have
been privileged to talk to some of these
adventurers and I am watching the first wave of
boomers plan and take action for the best years
of their lives.
There comes a time when, as active as we have
always been, we may have to think about giving
up the tennis and snow skiing. It’s not a
pleasant thought, I know. Sometimes we have to
face reality and it’s not pretty. However, there
is an activity that we can often do well into
our Gold Years – Boating!
Many people who attend our boating school are
finishing up their careers and soon will have
the time to do what they really want to do.
Cruising is a big part of their retirement plan.
More than once I have heard them talk about
cruising the “Great Loop.” Sometimes called the
Great Circle Route, this is the continuous
waterway that takes cruisers up the Atlantic
Seaboard, across the Great Lakes, down the
Mississippi and along the Gulf of Mexico. These
“loopers” even have their own association.
Cruising the Great Loop seems somehow
appropriate for our goal-setting culture. Buried
in our careers we seek to build a nest egg and
to provide for the future. Once security is in
our sights, we look to fulfill another basic
instinct – adventure. An ambitious plan like
cruising the Great Circle Route does that.
For some, the Great Loop is their cruising goal,
the summit or pinnacle of their boating journey.
Once it is accomplished, they hang up their
Topsiders and turn to gardening, For others, the
Loop is just one leg of a lifelong adventure
Cruising is also a civilized way to fulfill the
deep-seated desire we all have to return to the
basics. I call this satisfying our “call of the
wild” instinct. Instead of a closet full of
clothes and shoes, we bring onboard a duffel
bag’s worth of basics and boat shoes. Cruisers
know that so long as their clothes suit the
weather, their outfit is probably perfect for
After learning to cruise, many of our customers
are ready to charter a boat or purchase one of
their own. We even have a “floating retirement
plan” for those who want to buy a boat 5-10
years before retiring so that they can pay for
it and equip it while they are still working.
When they are ready to sail off into the sunset,
the boat is ready and waiting for them.
So, if the “R” word is starting to creep into
your daily lexicon, you may also want to start
to research the “B” word now. After all, the
phrase “Boating through Retirement” has a nice
ring to it. There are a few other words that
sound pretty good, too: Cruising, Relaxing,
Exploring, Diving, Cooking, Fishing, Eating and
All of those activities go with Boating. Now
that sounds like a really nice way to spend
those Golden Years.